Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NC Marine Fisheries Commission Settles Lawsuit With New Restrictions On Gill Nets; Small Step in Right Direction

Significant change has finally come to NC Marine Fisheries management resulting from a lawsuit filed in Federal Court. In an effort to hide the weakness that the courtroom offers to the stakeholders in our marine fisheries, the NC Marine Fisheries Commission conceded to severe restrictions on Large-mesh gill nets.

Conservation groups have taken notice that legal avenues may be the only avenue to effect serious reform in NC marine fisheries. Since the Marine Fisheries Commission is manipulated by NC Legislators that depend on commercial fishermen for re-election, and since they have enacted legislation to prevent any challenges to the current system, the courts will likely see more activity until the current system is abolished!

Get used to it boys, you asked for it!

The new restrictions will only be as effective as the DMF has ability or the stomach to enforce them. Why would that be a concern? Consider this. In the last ten years, not one single Sea Turtle was reported entangled by a commercial gill netter here in NC when the current permit strictly demands that they be reported.

Now that doesn't mean that turtles weren't entangled. As a matter of fact, quite a few were reported entangled when "observers" were accompanying commercial gill netters on their trips. But not one was ever reported on "unobserved" trips for the last 10 years! Amazing huh?

Observers are "turtle magnets!"

NC's Division of Marine Fisheries claims to have the best data and statistics in the USA. They brag about it, just ask them.

How could the most efficient data gathering agency in the whole country not be alarmed that no turtle entanglements were being reported unless there was an "observer" onboard for TEN YEARS? Maybe they just "missed" that fact, or worse, could they have been looking the other way intentionally?

Certainly one of our powerful politicians wouldn't direct folks to look the other way when his voter base is involved would he?

The citizens of North Carolina no longer trust our Marine Fisheries Commission, and the sooner we take the control of our marine fisheries away from commercial fishermen and their guard-dog legislators, the better!